How to Freeze Lasagna So You Can Enjoy Its Cheesy Deliciousness Anytime

published Sep 3, 2022
How to Freeze Lasagna

The best way to freeze lasagna is to fully assemble it and then freeze it before baking. Here's how to do it.

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In addition to being a one-dish dinner that warms and satisfies everyone at the table, lasagna is also ideal for making ahead and freezing. And this is a very good thing, when you consider the time and effort that goes into assembling all those irresistible layers of pasta, cheese, sauce, and perhaps meat, veggies, or both. On your average weekday, who has the hours for that? 

A far better idea is to make lasagna ahead of time and freeze it, so you always have a dinner in your back pocket. Of course, when it comes to freezing lasagna, there’s the will-work way and there’s the very best ticket-to-success way. Read on for everything you need to know about freezing lasagna, including when to freeze it, how to wrap it, and how long it will last. 

What’s the best way to freeze lasagna?

While lasagna offers some leeway when it comes to freezing, the best approach is to assemble, freeze, and bake it later. This is because baking and freezing puts food through a lot — and the more you put a dish through, the more its quality can decline. In the case of lasagna, the pasta can dry out, the dairy can separate, and ice crystals can form. To avoid all this, plan to freeze a fully assembled lasagna to bake and eat later. 

When freezing lasagna, what you put in your recipe is also important. You can use traditional lasagna noodles, but it’s better and far easier to use no-boil noodles, as in this easy lasagna recipe. Frozen lasagna takes longer to bake than one that is made fresh, and all that extra oven time can wreak havoc on regular noodles. No-boil noodles can be simply layered into lasagna and frozen. When it comes time to bake your lasagna, be sure to wrap it tightly in foil, which will create the steam needed to cook those no-boil noodles. 

When it comes to the creamy and cheesy layer, ricotta, cottage cheese, and béchamel fillings can all be frozen, although béchamel varieties tend to weather the freezing process a bit better. Both meat and vegetable lasagnas can be frozen, but be sure to fully cook any meat before assembling and freezing.

Can I freeze leftover lasagna?

Freezing and baking later may be the ideal approach, but it’s not the only approach. If you make lasagna for dinner and have leftovers, you can absolutely freeze them. The taste and texture might not be quite as good, but we’re talking about lasagna here, so you probably won’t hear very many complaints.

In this scenario, be sure to fully cool your lasagna before freezing. Putting a hot lasagna in the freezer risks thawing the food already in the freezer, and to maximize the quality of your lasagna it’s best to avoid dramatic temperature changes. 

Can I freeze individual servings of lasagna?

Another option for leftover lasagna is to cut it into individual servings for freezing and reheating later. This has the benefit of being faster to defrost and reheat, which can really come in handy when you’re crunched for time. 

What’s the best container for freezing lasagna?

Lasagna can be assembled, frozen, and baked in a range of vessels, each with their own pros and cons. The most obvious option is a baking dish, which offers the advantage of being oven-to-table (and gets aesthetic bonus points if it’s cute).

Using a metal baking dish is straightforward and safe. If you use a ceramic or tempered glass baking dish, be sure it is oven-safe and avoid extreme temperature changes, which can cause ceramic or glass to crack or shatter. Be sure to fully cool lasagna before freezing and avoid putting a frozen lasagna straight in the oven. 

The problem with using a baking dish is that for as long as that lasagna is in the freezer, you can’t use the baking dish. Recyclable aluminum foil trays are an easy alternative. There’s no cleanup and they come in different sizes, so you can make lasagna with as many portions as you’d like. Once fully assembled, place the foil tray on a baking sheet or tray and place that in the freezer to support the weight. When the lasagna is frozen solid, you can remove the tray. 

Another rather clever option is to line a baking dish with heavy-duty foil, leaving several inches of overhang on all sides, then assemble the lasagna inside and fold the extra foil over the top. Pop the lasagna in the freezer until frozen solid, then lift it out of the baking dish, add a second layer of foil, and freeze. When ready to bake, remove the second layer of foil and pop the lasagna back in the dish for baking. 

What’s the best way to wrap lasagna for the freezer? 

If you put the time and effort into making lasagna, you want to put extra care into wrapping it, because that’s exactly what’s going to protect it from the freezer. One option is to wrap the dish snugly in a layer of plastic wrap, pressing it into the surface to block out as much air as possible and prevent freezer burn, and then follow that with a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. You must be extra careful to remove the plastic wrap before the dish goes in the oven.

Some cooks prefer not to use plastic wrap and others find it can stick to the top lasagna layer too much. If this is the case, use a double layer of aluminum foil instead. When it comes time to bake your lasagna, you can re-use a layer of foil to wrap the baking dish and keep the cheese from browning too much. 

If you’re freezing leftovers, be sure to cool them completely before freezing. It’s usually best to remove leftovers from the baking dish and wrap them in plastic wrap, followed by foil, or two layers of foil. Alternatively, divide the leftovers into individual servings and wrap them the same way. Keeping air out is essential, so that first snug layer is what’s most important. 

No matter how you prep your lasagna for the freezer, be sure to add a label with the name of the dish and either when you froze it or when you need to use it by. You can also include a note on how to reheat it and if you did wrap yours in plastic wrap — and you’re a tad forgetful — it doesn’t hurt to add a reminder to remove it. 

How long can lasagna be frozen?

Frozen lasagna — whether baked or not baked — will stay safe for quite some time, but for the best flavor and texture, use it within three months. 

How do I cook my frozen lasagna?

If you followed our advice and froze your lasagna before cooking, when you are ready to serve it, you have two options. You can either defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, then let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, while you preheat the oven, and bake as directed by your recipe.

Alternatively, you can bake the lasagna straight from the freezer, but it will likely take twice as long as the recipe indicates, and you’ll need to be careful with glass or ceramic baking dishes. In either case, remember to remove any plastic wrap and cover the lasagna with a layer of foil until the final 10 minutes or so of baking — that’s when you’ll brown the top. 

When you need to reheat leftover (or previously cooked) lasagna, follow our guide to reheating lasagna.

How to Freeze Lasagna

The best way to freeze lasagna is to fully assemble it and then freeze it before baking. Here's how to do it.

Ingredients

  • Fully assembled lasagna (not baked)

Equipment

  • Freezer- and oven-safe baking pan

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Assemble: Following your recipe's instructions, fully assemble your lasagna in a freezer- and oven-safe pan or baking dish. (Be sure any meat layers are cooked before assembling and choose no-boil noodles if possible.)

  2. Wrap and freeze: Wrap the assembled lasagna in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil and label it with the name of the dish and the date you froze it or need to use it by (you can also include instructions for reheating).Transfer to the freezer.

  3. Reheat: To reheat, transfer the lasagna to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. When you are ready to bake your lasagna, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, while you preheat the oven, and bake as directed by your recipe.